Wordle game gains popularity with students

Madison Abbassi and Sofie Zalatimo

Senior Keira Chiu contemplates her next guess for the daily Wordle, a popular new word game. As Wordle has gained widespread popularity over the past few weeks, many at Palo Alto High School are enjoying the challenge. “I love that it’s only one word per day,” Chiu said. “Otherwise, I would get sick of it really fast. One word is the perfect length.” (Photo: Sofie Zalatimo)

With the recent Wordle trend on the rise, Palo Alto High School students and staff alike are piecing together letters to guess each daily word.

Wordle, recently acquired by the New York Times, is a word game in which players have six chances to guess a five-letter word, revealing letters along the board with each turn. For every guess, a correct letter in the right place will turn green, a correct letter in the wrong place will turn yellow, and incorrect letters will turn gray. The challenge is to correctly guess the daily word before the six attempts are over. At the end, players are able to share their results with friends — whether they’ve guessed the word correctly on their first try or after working through the full six attempts.

The game, released in October, has gained significant traction over the past few weeks. Humanities and AP English Literature teacher Mimi Park said she enjoys the challenge of guessing the word in limited attempts.

“I appreciate that it’s challenging, but there’s also a measure of luck involved,” Park said. “As an English teacher, I always appreciate any game that makes people think and use words and use their brains.”

Wordle offers only one word per day, and Park said this is part of its personal appeal to her.

“As someone who tends to spend far too much time on something I like, I’m glad we only get one [word] a day,” Park said. “It’s good for my self-control.”

Senior Sarah Crystal said she compares her daily score with friends and family members, making it more competitive.

“I really love Wordle because I like that I can be competitive with my family,” Crystal said. “I’m being held accountable because everyone in the [Crystal family] group chat sends their Wordles.”

According to AP Psychology teacher Melinda Mattes, part of Wordle’s rapid rise could be due to the fact that many students are interested in it, creating a positive feedback loop.

“We, of course, are social creatures, so perhaps finding ways to connect with others is evolutionarily advantageous,” Mattes said.

According to Park, the words used in Wordle are often familiar, but the endless variety of options makes it difficult to guess.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say one needs the most sophisticated vocabulary, and I think that’s part of the appeal,” Park said. “The words themselves are interesting because they’re all pretty common usage words. The challenge isn’t in the vocab itself, but more in one’s ability to visualize and narrow down the letters.”

Crystal said she prefers the more commonly used words because they feel more attainable to guess.

“I don’t like when they have really weird, obscure words,” Crystal said. “I heard that the Wordle dictionary is limited already, but I almost wish it was more limited. I don’t like when I don’t know the word because then it kind of feels impossible.”

You can try today’s Wordle here!